An Indian Civilizational Perspective

The Ultimate Friendship

This post is in response to the Blogadda Friends Forever Contest of August 2010. This contest has been sponsored by Pring00.

We had’nt met for 15 years and yet when the call came – I was thrilled. He had been a good friend when we were training together at the military academy. But since completing training and being posted to our different regiments, we had not been in touch. Those were the pre-internet, pre-social networking and pre-mobile days. STD calls were always made after 2000 hours to avail the 1/2 rate or ideally after 2200 hours to avail the 1/4th rate.

But today, his was a distress call – his pregnant wife was stranded due to landslides in the tiny hill station where I was posted and could I do something about it? Of course I could and in an hours time I had located the lady and brought her to our guest room and put her up for the two days till the roads opened up.

As she left, I could not help but feel good about the fact that I managed to help a friend. The friendship that one develops in the face of adversity transcends all. The bonding, cameraderie and espirit de corps that soldiers acquire is a result of the long, arduous and gruelling training. The hours spent together rolling in the muck, climbing ropes, suffering torturous punishments creates a special feeling that one cherishes only after the event.

We were there – friends – abusing, coaxing, cajoling each other over our respective weaknesses till the last day in academy.

My civilian friends often ask me why are men in the army ready to lay down their lives for the nation? What motivates them?

What I tell them is that for the soldier there is no nation, no patriotism, no fluttering tricolour – these are too lofty and impersonal ideals for the lowly soldier. At the end of the day, each man fights for the man on his left and the man on his right.

And that is The Ultimate Friendship.

It would be a long while before my friend and I spoke again, both struggling in the daily grind. But both of us were secure in the knowledge that we would always be there for each other in times of need – as friends should, because we were Friends Forever.

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